Mat Ryan has made the wrong move.
Today, the Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper is on a plane to the UK where he’ll link up with fallen Scottish giants Rangers for a 10-day training spell.
It can’t be called a 10-day trial because of the small matter of a 12-month transfer ban being slapped on Rangers for going into liquidation.
Because of that they can’t sign any players, even free agents, until September 1, 2013.
After his “training” is complete he’ll return to Australia and play out the rest of the season with the Mariners.
Lawrie McKinna, the club’s former manager and current General Manager of Football (and newly-elected Gosford councillor), helped line-up the arrangement after speaking to Rangers manager Ally McCoist over the Christmas period.
The problem isn’t just that Rangers now play in the fourth tier of Scottish football, but also the fact Ryan will miss Saturday’s clash with the Melbourne Victory in Launceston.
Ryan is hungry for a move overseas. That’s completely understandable.
The shot-stopper is incredibly talented and has already attracted interest from Tottenham, West Bromwich Albion and Championship side Hull City.
Ambition is fine and he’s hardly the first young Australian player to look longingly at the bright lights of European football.
But there’s opportunities and then there’s good opportunities.
Former Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, now a pundit with Fox Sports, said last night that the Scottish Premier League isn’t as good as the A-League.
So, what does that make the fourth tier?
Yes, it’s Rangers. Yes, they have 54 league titles and 33 Scottish Cups, but you have to question if this version of the famous club is the right fit for one of Australia’s best talents.
If it’s just a 10-day training spell then it’s a waste of time.
He’d be better off playing in the A-League against the Victory.
It doesn’t send a great message when a player is willing to abandon ship so quickly during the middle of what is shaping up as an intriguing title fight.
If it’s a 10-day training spell that will see Ryan eventually sign with the club then it’s a poorly timed adventure.
It will be at least the 2015/16 season before Rangers are back in the Scottish Premier League.
Ryan is good enough to play in Europe, but he’s also better than what Rangers are currently able to offer.